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Bucyrus grain facility to open in 2013

Press Photo by April Baumgarten Anthony Flagg, vice president of business development for United Grain Corp, Vancouver, Wash., proposes an $18 million grain elevator to the Adams County Planning and Zoning Commission Monday at the County Courthouse in Hettinger. The facility will process 60,000 bushels of wheat per hour, he said.

HETTINGER -- Producers in Adams County will have an $18 million grain elevator to export wheat, giving them a chance at competitive prices and more markets, officials said Monday at the Adams County Courthouse.

"We feel we need to secure our wheat source so we can maintain our market shares or something close to our market share," said Anthony Flagg, vice president of business development for United Grain Corp. "To be able to secure our wheat source, we want to do this as close and directly to the farmers as possible."

The Adams County Planning and Zoning Commission gave UGC its full support. The County Commission also gave the grain exporter from Vancouver, Wash., the green light the same night.

The facility will sit on approximately 320 acres of land two miles east of Bucyrus south of Highway 12, according to the application. It will be able to process 110 cars of wheat every 10 hours, or 60,000 bushels per hour. It can also ship durum, Flagg said.

UGC should complete the facility by June 2013, he said.

The facility will be a "high-speed" exporter with the ability to ship grain to Vancouver within three days, which the rail industry is demanding, Flagg added.

UGC has also set aside about $750,000 of its budget to add turning lanes on Highway 12 to prevent accidents going in and coming out of the facility. The company will take care of the roads and not use tax money, he said.

No one stepped forward to comment on the project at the special meeting. Commissioners were surprised.

"It's obvious how many people were here to oppose it tonight," County Commission Chairman Chuck Christman said, adding he has heard nothing but positive things about the facility.

He said the facility should offer farmers more competitive prices for their grain.

"We really only have one grain-handling company in this neck of the woods, being Southwest Grain," he said.

Farmers are not the only ones benefiting from the facility, said Jeri Lynn Bakken, Planning and Zoning Commission chairwoman.

"It appears they are going to be a good neighbor and a good business to have in our county," she said.

The terminal should be one of UGC's best facilities, Flagg said. It may look at shipping canola and corn if the market in the area becomes large enough.

"It sits in such a great production area of good, quality spring wheat," he said. "We are anticipating developing a good business here and developing a good relationship with local producers."